My time in Nelson was coming to a close, and to make the most of my last few days with my mum and dad, we (well my mum and I – poor dad had work!) ventured out for one last cafe crawl. I wanted to go somewhere where I either haven’t been to, or somewhere that I haven’t visited for years, so after pondering all the cafes nearby and having a cheeky look online at what all the delightful cafes in the Tasman had to offer, we set our sights on the Riverside cafe.
The last time I remember going to Riverside was around 8 years ago, and since then it has really upped its cafe game. The cafe is still a cute old villa sat in beautiful green gardens bursting with different plants and trees, but now the cafe also acts as a gallery and plant shop – and there’s even a fresh unpasteurised milk stall next door! The interior of the cafe itself is in-keeping with the general riverside community aesthetic, with eclectic and rustic decor and furnishings that create for an alternative but also homely atmosphere. We took a seat outside on the deck that overlooks the gorgeous gardens and Western Mountain ranges; a perfect view for a refreshing drink and a spot to eat!
The menu is packed with delicious sounding brunch and lunch items made with locally grown ingredients, and they have a cabinet jam packed with mouthwatering sweets and savories. We decided to grab two dishes to share, so we could avoid any chance of food envy, however actually deciding what to get was a whole other dilemma. In the end, we decided upon the spinach, mushroom, and feta filo, paired with the recommended chefs special: a roasted beetroot salad with feta puree, walnuts, rocket, and sesame snaps. Holy Moly. No words. Every bite of both of these dishes was actual heaven, i just wanted the food to never end! The filo was perfectly crisp, with a well seasoned filling packed with ingredients that perfectly complement each other. But the pièce de résistance was that beetroot salad. The match of the earthy beetroot with the salty feta all tied together with bitter rocket, sweet walnuts and a tangy lemon juice dressing created a dish that made my taste buds sing – if I was at home I would’ve licked my plate clean.
I am so glad I revisited this beautiful cafe; they have definitely stepped up to the plate and honed their craft to deliver delicious food and drink that encompasses what good hospitality is about. The waiters and waitresses were super friendly and made the effort to chat to us, which I feel like is what makes premium waitstaff service. With a bunch of delicious organic hot and cold drinks, meals and treats on offer, there really is little to complain about with this cafe – their added cactus garden also fulfilled my inner white girl desires! I have to take my hat off to the Riverside Cafe, and rate them an insane 9.5/10 on the CafeCrawlerLucy scale. Every single factor that I judge when coming to a cafe was made near perfect by the team at Riverside, and they created a cafe experience that I will forever remember. If you happen to visit Nelson or the Tasman region I would wholeheartedly recommend taking the time to drive out to this little hidden hospitality heaven and live one of the best cafe experiences I have ever had.